Texting skyrockets; typed words replacing talk?

For the better part of the 20th century, the telephone was the quickest and easiest way to communicate with neighbors friends and family. But now, with a steady stream of digital devices, it appears many people prefer typing over talking.

Increasingly, the call is being replaced by e-mail, and even more so, texting. Cell phones, "Early Show" Contributor Taryn Winter Brill noted, are turning us into writers.

James Katz, communications professor at Rutgers University, said, "It seems that, actually, writing is a much more natural way of communicating than we ever dreamed was possible, and the text is the way for that dream come true."

Over the last four years, the major phone carriers have seen huge jumps in the number of text messages sent, Brill reported. In all, Americans sent more than two trillion text messages in 2010.

It's been 135 years since Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever phone call to his assistant uttering the words, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you." The invention of the telephone ushered in a revolution in the way people conducted their business - both private and professional. Now the invention millions have thought they could never live without appears to be on its way out.

Katz said, "It's ironic because the telegraph - which is a form of texting - was killed by the telephone, and now texting is killing the phone call."

On "The Early Show" Jessica Bennett, senior writer for Newsweek, said the technology has made texting easier for users.

"So everybody's using it and why not?" she said. "It's fast. It's quick, and studies have even shown we get an adrenaline boost every time we text an e-mail so it's this constant stimulation."

Texting, Bennett said, does streamline things, especially in the workplace.

She said, "You can send a lot of e-mails to a lot of people in a lot less time, and it avoids all of the awkward things that come with face-to-face interaction: no eye contact, no small talk. So it makes it easier, and in a way, it's fun."

But are we losing something?

"The downside is people are losing the ability to interact with other human beings as opposed to a handheld device," co-anchor Chris Wragge remarked.

"We're losing the ability to see nuance," Bennett added. "There's a lot you can get from tone, and face-to-face interaction you can't get over a text message especially when it's worded in crazy language."

But it seems the younger generation is latching on to the texting trend. Bennett pointed out the average teen sends 2,000 text messages a month and only makes 100 phone calls.

Bennett said she's never had a landline phone.

She said, "I don't think I will."